Home School is Like Playing School

When I was a little girl, I loved to play school with my neighborhood friends, or my cousin, or my little sister.  We went all out with it too... paper, pencils, and a long pointing stick for tapping at math problems on the large rolling chalkboard.  Some of us fifth and sixth graders would save old workbooks and collect extra handouts throughout the year, so that we could play some serious school with the kinder-kids over the summer break.  We would even make up permission slips for parents to sign, so that we could take the tots on a "field trip" to the local playground, or on a picnic.

As my grade levels increased, what we once referred to as "playing school", was relabeled "tutoring".  And of course, as the years marched on and my own kiddies came along, it was again renamed to "helping with the homework".

Now, in my middle age, there's a new term for it.  Home School.  And it is some serious $h!t.  I actually filed papers with the state of North Carolina, who in turn legalized my school with a registration number.  My home is now the SNB Academy, and has an enrollment of one ninth grade student.  I get to download and print lesson plans, or pre-made worksheets on any subjects I choose.  In fact, I even get to choose the subjects; the entire curriculum, for that matter.  Even though the state regulations are few, I am attempting to follow as closely as I can to the manner of our local high school, in their "block scheduling".  Each semester carries only four classes, but each class must have 130-150 hours of instruction.

Every day that we conduct some sort of educational activity, I make a mark in the attendance log.  I teach three to four subjects a day, for extended periods.  In fact, Punkin and I skipped English altogether yesterday, because we had an extended four hour Civics lesson.  We're only doing about three hours a week of P.E. (at the gym), but that's because I'm waiting for warmer weather.  Spring means hiking and paddle boating.  Summer mean swimming.  It's all counts for credit.

Credit opportunities seem to be everywhere.  When a friend of ours recently offered my girls horseback riding lessons, the first thing I did was figure out how I could turn them into a course credit.  It has since become the Equine Sciences course.  Whenever we go out to the farm, my student will rack up time with the animals.  She'll have care and grooming lessons from the owner, she'll get behavioral studies from learning to ride, and she can shadow the vet on regular checkups.  On days when we're not at the farm, we're watching Discovery Channel and National Geographic videos on the evolution and history of the modern horse.  We're printing and studying skeletal, digestion and reproduction charts and photos. 

And that's how it's done.  Home schooling has turned out to be easier than I expected, and we're getting so much more out of it, than public school.  By teaching to her, on her level, in the best manner for her learning abilities, we're finding a level of productivity that she's rarely experienced before.  Not only that, but her levels of anxiety, and impulsiveness are down.  She's helping out more around the house, and ... well, she's maturing.  We should have done this years ago.


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